National campaign against ‘dabbing’ intensified

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A clip of an artist dabbing in a performance in a festival in Taif that caused a stir.

Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — A national campaign warning celebrities, entertainment events and retail stores against signs of dabbing, a hip-hop move, intensified nationwide in recent months.

The dab, a dance move in which a person drops their head into the bent crook of a slanted arm while raising the other arm straight in the parallel direction, quickly spread among Saudi youth in the past year and caused controversy due to its meaning.

The National Committee for Combating Drugs, a government initiative that aims to prevent youth from drug addiction, referred to it as a move suggesting sniffing drugs.

It referred to a publication featured in the magazine Pediatrics titled “Assessing the Dangers of ‘Dabbing’: Mere Marijuana or Harmful New Trend?” that studies the dab trend as a fashionable way to use marijuana and inhale drugs.

The committee’s president called the trend a harmful influence on youth and those who promote it in public events or on social media will face consequences.

The arrests and warnings against celebrities and football players stirred a trending debate on social media.

“It doesn’t seem harmful because kids consider the dab a sign of victory when beating their friends in a challenge or prank,” says Intisar Abdullah, mother of a 13-year-old boy. “I did not know it had any meaning related to drugs or cannabis before the committee’s statement in the news.”

She added, “I think there should be more awareness nationwide where the authorities inform the youth and elaborate its meaning.”

The move originated in the hip-hop scene in the United States and spread worldwide after the move went viral on social media.

“When local celebrities, such as artists, football players, and social media influencers dabbed in events, the move become even more popular,” says Anas Mukhtar, a rapper based in Jeddah.

Dabbing negatively affects the image of rap and hip-hop music because it most likely refers to a method of sniffing drugs, he says, adding that “many people copy it without really knowing what it means”.

Last week, the committee threatened football players from dabbing after several players publicly dabbed after scoring goals during the most recent Jameel League.

It also called on security to implement legal action against an artist in a summer festival in Taif recently who received applause for dabbing.

The artist apologized on his Twitter account after the incident, saying he did not intend any harm.

A mannequin displaying a dab move in a shop in Taif to promote stylish clothes for boys was taken down after members of the committee ordered it to be removed.


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